America's Best Girlfriend Getaways
Ian Dagnall / Alamy
Former New Yorker Judy Frankel, who now works for Madison’s CVB, says she was pleasantly surprised by the local culture and diversity: “There’s great ethnic food, fancy dinners are still reasonably priced, and you can walk everywhere.” Book your fancy dinner at L’Etoile, where produce, meats, and artisan Wisconsin cheeses are sourced from a local farmers’ market. On Fridays, swing by High Noon Saloon for Happyoke—karaoke during happy hour with a band playing as backup—and, in summer, head to the rooftop of the César Pelli–designed Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for concerts and films.
Where to Stay: You’re past those frat-house partying days, so check into the chic HotelRED, with a walk-to-everything location, modern art, and kitchenettes that make it easy to cook up a group dinner.